There's a difference between loyalty to the home team--athletes
imported to play for our local colleges and pro franchises--and
the deep emotional bond we share with hometown heroes, the local
legends we knew back when. They are the boys and girls from next
door, or the next town. We watched them grow up, watched them
play when it was still play. Unfortunately, these luminaries are
almost inevitably dispersed because of sport's mercenary nature,
lured away by scholarships or contracts. Well, we're bringing
'em all back home for the millennium--not necessarily to where
they were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the
greatness to come. Thus, Broadway Joe is in Pennsylvania, not
Alabama or New York; and the Mailman is in Louisiana, not Utah.
The result: the top 50 from your state and, on the following
pages, a list of those from all 50 states. In short, the
ultimate home teams.
Three-time AL MVP holds records for championships (10), and World
Series games (75) and hits (71)--and malaprops (countless).
Hit .284 in 14 seasons, but the Old Professor made his mark in
the dugout, guiding the Yankees to seven titles.
Won eight majors; was PGA Tour's leading money winner five
times; won at least three events every year from 1977 to '82.
Averaged 30.1 points at Princeton; won Olympic gold in 1964;
started on Knicks' title teams of 1969-70 and 1972-73.
James (Cool Papa) Bell
Negro leagues star hit .391 in 54 games against major leaguers.
Coached college basketball for 48 years; won 1952 NCAA
championship at Kansas; mentored numerous coaches, including
Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith and Ralph Miller.
In 1938, when boxing had only eight weight classes, he
simultaneously held three titles.
Enshrined in Canton as most feared lineman of late 1920s for
Giants and Packers; in Cooperstown as an umpire.
Five-time All-Star won Cy Young in 1994; tossed perfect game in
'99; played for four World Series winners.
Won the first Masters, in 1934; also won it in '36; ranks 12th
alltime with 29 tour wins.
Seven-time Pro Bowl pick; had 40 passes as cornerback for
Cardinals (1969 to '82).
"Easy" Ed Macauley
Shone at St. Louis University before pro career with St. Louis
Bombers, Celtics and Hawks; seven-time NBA All-Star.
Led Oklahoma A&M to NCAA titles in 1945 and '46; only basketball
coach to win Olympic gold twice (1964 and '68).
Won three majors, including 1991 and '99 U.S. Open; won more
than $1 million in a season three times.
Oft-ejected fireplug managed Orioles to five 100-win seasons and
1970 World Series title.
Pitched on Tigers' 1954 NCAA title team; had a hand in 676
basketball wins at Missouri as an All-America guard and, for 38
years, as coach.
Jo Jo White
Played in seven consecutive NBA All-Star Games; helped Celtics to
two NBA titles (1973-74 and 1975-76).
Won two gold medals in track and field at 1936 Olympics, setting
a world record in the 100 meters.
Quarterbacked Great Lakes Navy to 1919 Rose Bowl win; NFL MVP in
'28; coached Chicago Cardinals to only NFL title, in '47.
Won Olympic gold in '76; held light heavyweight and heavyweight
Steelers linebacker played in seven Pro Bowls in 12-year career
during 1960s and '70s.
1964 NL MVP; won five Gold Gloves at third base for Cardinals;
hit .287 during 15-year career.
Holy cow! Former semipro infielder made a name for himself as
voice of Cardinals from 1945 to '69, then became fan favorite in
Trained two Triple Crown winners--Whirlaway in 1941 and Citation
in '48--and five Kentucky Derby winners.
Coached high school football for 44 years, including 37 at
Jefferson City; his 405 wins are second nationally.
Top-ranked tennis player in U.S. in 1963, the year he won
Wimbledon singles title.
Dodgers leftfielder had 2,884 hits; hit .375 in 1923 and '24; won
batting title in '18 (.335).
Ranked as high as fifth in the world in tennis, but legacy is the
Lipton Championship, which he founded in 1985.
Two-time gold medalist and first man to reach a sprint final in
three Olympics (1920, '24 and '28); immortalized in Chariots of
Won at least one NASCAR race every year from 1986 to '99; Winston
Cup points champion in '88.
The Thin Man invented split-T during 19 seasons as Missouri
coach (1935 to '56); Tigers' football stadium bears his name.
Light heavyweight champion from 1952 to '62; knocked out more
opponents (141) than any other pro fighter.
Eagle Eye had 2,930 hits playing for Pittsburgh, the Giants,
Reds and Cardinals from 1888 to 1907.
Turned pro in 1962 at 17; in 1976 became first LPGA Tour player
to win $100,000 in a season.
National college singles and doubles tennis champion at Harvard
in 1899; the next year he donated the trophy for his brainchild:
the Davis Cup.
Led Oklahoma A&M to NCAA basketball title in 1945 and '46;
eschewed the pro game to play AAU ball.
Starred in football and basketball at Notre Dame; four-year pro
career included stint with St. Louis Bombers.
"Pitchin'" Paul Christman
All-America quarterback at Missouri in 1939 and '40; played 12
seasons for Cardinals and Packers.
1955 NL Rookie of the Year as centerfielder for Cardinals; won
three division titles as manager of Pirates and Astros.
Named greatest bowler in history by Bowling magazine in 1970; 13
sanctioned 300 games.
Local beer baron bought baseball Cardinals in 1953 when team was
considering a move to Milwaukee.
Successfully succeeded Yogi Berra (#1) as Yankees catcher; won
AL MVP in 1963, hitting 28 homers and driving in 85 runs.
Was alltime leading scorer and rebounder at Missouri; second pick
in the 1983 NBA draft; played five seasons for Pacers.
Ran 800 meters at 1928 Olympics; first U.S. Olympic women's track
coach, at '36 Berlin Games.
Nelson Burton Jr.
Won record nine American Bowling Congress titles (1965 to '79);
longtime national TV commentator.
Anchored U.S. defense in 1-0 upset of England in 1950 World Cup;
coached at St. Louis for 16 years.
Won light heavyweight gold medal at 1976 Olympics; hammered
Muhammad Ali for heavyweight title in '78.
Product of Royals baseball school of the early 1970s, won eight
Gold Gloves with Kansas City, most by any second baseman in AL
Righty pitcher won 171 games from 1979 to '94; won 15 or more
games in six seasons.
J.G. Taylor Spink
Turned The Sporting News into the bible of baseball by assigning
a correspondent to each team in 1910.